Document Management for your Projects

There was a time, not so long ago, when metal cabinets heavily loaded with files were the only solution to preserve and file documents. This time now belongs to the past and paper is gradually replaced by the more convenient electronic format, less bulky, and easily sent to multiple recipients.

Storage and classification of documents in electronic format are performed on directories located on the computer disk, in emails, on server, or in cloud mode.

Indeed, though this solution is rather convenient when one wishes to manage a virtual library, limitations will soon appear. We will get back to this topic a little later.

Demand generating supply, new tools and concepts quickly appeared on the market.

Indeed, terms such as Electronic Document Management and Content Management (better known under the term Enterprise Content Management -ECM) are now common; there are numerous document management systems.

Collectively known as content management solutions, they meet very diverse needs. Let us mention a few of them:

  • Document management;
  • Web content management (WCM Web Content Management);
  • Multimedia document management (DAM (Digital Asset Management);
  • Archives management;
  • Email management;
  • Content analysis of digital documents (Content Analytics or Content Analysis).

The aim is to manage the content of numerous unstructured documents in order to automatically analyze and identify trends in those documents.

What are the benefits of document management?

Utilizing a document management system offers numerous benefits. However, it is mandatory that the solution is integrated in a software suite which brings together the various modules required for appropriate and effective project management. In fact, quite often, organizations will have a whole range of management tools:

  • Time Management
  • Budget Management
  • Management of the deliverables
  • Management of changes occurring in projects
  • Management of work in progress and billing
  • Management of time banks
  • Document management
  • Etc.

The problem that arises does not involve the tools themselves. The problematic rather lies in the fact that those different systems do not communicate with each other. Therefore, the benefit of these solutions is dissolved in the time needed to forward information from one application to another with all the risks of mistakes and forgetfulness that this delicate operation involves.
Ideally, the document management tool must be available on a versatile software platform, easily operated by the project manager, that is to say; no need to use multiple software, and direct access to all components of the project:

  • Budget;
  • Project WBS;
  • Allocation of resources;
  • Monitoring the availability of resources;
  • Transactions (timesheets, expenses);
  • Management of vendor invoices;
  • Billing;
  • Financial Reports;
  • Notes on project;
  • And other documents related to the project itself.

The direct benefits are time saving and centralization of information.

Abak360 was recently fitted with a versatile document management module. It is thus possible for the user to centralize all documentation relating to a project directly in the project folder (receipts, pictures, layouts, and any other type of documents). An employee who enters his/her time and expenses also has the ability to electronically attach receipts to the expense account.

For further information do not hesitate to contact us!

Time and expense tracking software for R&D projects

Tax credits on R&D projects constitute a significant financial source that contributes to the growth of your company. However, preparing credit application files often represents a time consuming and rather painful process both at administrative and organizational levels.

Are these issues familiar?

Permeability between different projects: how to log the actual time against the appropriate project? Most of the time, various R&D projects are carried out simultaneously and may be related to similar tasks. Therefore, unless you have a flexible tool to manage those projects, time recording may become unreliable and tedious.

Create project templates in Abak 360, duplicate them each and every time you launch a new R&D project, and assign employees to the project. Reliable data entries will be logged against the right project, by the appropriate resources. Quick and efficient!

Everyone can log time on a project according to one’s own method (task description for instance). Quite often employees will not log their time and related expenses on a day to day basis. In the absence of a systematic input method used by all, data entries may vary depending on individuals, their attendance, and their attention to details. Thus, the information might not be realistic, nor reliable.

In Abak 360 create all the tasks and expenses types that you need. List those tasks and expenses types in your project, organize them in phases and sub phases. All employees assigned to the project will access the same list of tasks and expenses.

Correlating time/expense entries and documentation: tax credit applications require detailed documentation in regard to the projects and the time devoted to them. In most of cases, documents and receipts are not correlated with the time/expense tracking solution.

Abak 360 includes a powerful document management tool which allows storage of documents in electronic format for a given project. Centralizing all information on a R&D project including documentation will save you precious time.

Omissions and errors regarding hours and expenses logged on a R&D project are quite common.

With Abak360 It is possible to limit the risk of errors and omissions by building phase based project architecture. Moreover automatic alerts will be triggered when a project has reached a problematic or critical situation (in regards to the budget for instance or on planned quantities). Abak360 will warn you when a project is drifting away from its boundaries.

Managing expenses for R&D project is quite often difficult. Are all the expenses planned, have they all been approved. Are the expenses assigned to the right project?

Planning and budgeting your expenses is easy in Abak 360. Within your project tree you even can plan you expenses per phase and per sub-phase. Invoices and receipts (in electronic format) will be kept in the project file.

Preparing an application for a R&D tax credit requires a lot of time. Very often information is scattered throughout different files.

Abak 360 standardizes and secures your project management process. Further, all the information related to the project is centralized onto one platform (time and expense entries, budget, report, documents, resources assignations, and notes on project). With Abak360, you spare a lot of time. No rush anymore to complete and send your application for tax return on time!

The right tools for the right team!

As you know, we live in a very competitive world.

To gain contracts and projects, a nice reputation and past successes aren’t
enough anymore; you have to gather the key elements of the achievement equation:

Quality of the product or service + Reputation & referrals + Optimized prices and delays + Pragmatic organisation = Project acquisition

Therefore, the focus must be put on the preciseness of the price and the accuracy of the project’s structure as well as a satisfying accomplishment delay for the prospect.

At a preliminary stage (the quote), it is important to use work methodologies that allow you to calculate the price of a project. This price has to be competitive but should also generate important profits for the company.

With this in mind, a time management, invoicing and project cost management software is a must-have; its efficiency can be found in a logical follow-up of actions:

  1. Project architecture
  2. Quote preparation
  3. Budgets
  4. Time management
  5. Follow-up of project’s cost
  6. Invoicing

At the preliminary stage, the project management can define the main phases of his project and extrapolate any expected sub phases and activities.

That way, it is possible to anticipate different skill levels and attribute them diversified tasks, therefore make responsibility choices according to each team member’s abilities.

Honorary optimisation for everyone is then possible. For example, visiting a building site costs less that writing a technical report; elaborating a building plan costs more that informative meetings or administrative paperwork related to the project. A wise decision regarding those choices will optimize your offer’s competitiveness.

The software allows you to partition the project in as many phases, sub phases and activities you need in order to understand better the client’s needs, the project’s challenges, its risks and the time it takes to fulfill it. Above all, the software allows you to plan in details the required activities, the costs and the prices while considering competitiveness.

Working with this method allows a competitive positioning but also lets you save time when obtaining a project because most of the management and budgeting is already done.

No more double entry of data: you can just keep on working with Abak and follow-up on your project’s real-time cost until it is over!

8 steps to choose your project management tool

StockfreshDecisionsRegarding the choice of a project management software, you cannot improvise: it is crucial to adopt a structured method that will guide you to the most appropriate choice. We recommend a methodology identifying the main steps that help you avoid selecting a product that isn’t fit for you.

Your needs evolve in time and it is essential that you acknowledge this fact during your selection.

Here are the eight steps that will help you choose a project management software. You have to:

  1. Define your needs;
  2. Establish a software evaluation workbook;
  3. Identify software suppliers;
  4. Ask each preselected supplier to fill the evaluation workbook;
  5. Demand a demonstration to 3 of your potential suppliers;
  6. Request a free 30-day trial;
  7. Ask for client referrals;
  8. Negotiate prices and contract terms.

1 – Define your needs

This most important step is often minimized or hastily executed. That is why we recommend that you meet with the employees that might be involved in project management, gather the documents you usually need and explain your preferred behaviors regarding the actions you take. Over all, this step will allow you to validate if your methodology is constant in the company. We also recommend that you compare your ways of functioning with the PMI standard.

2 – Establish a software evaluation workbook

Once your needs are clarified, you need to precisely evaluate the tool’s functionalities in order to make sure that it will easily be integrated in your current environment.
Let’s be honest, the “perfect” tool does not exist. However, the market is full of good quality solutions that might be able to fulfill your needs.

It is important to create a criteria and precise method grid to facilitate the selection of your potential suppliers’ tools. Classify your needs in 3 categories: E = essential, I = important, W = wanted. Don’t forget to include your key collaborators and the future users of the tool.

3 – Identify software suppliers

You can quickly find the most popular solutions by doing a quick web search. We recommend that you identify 3 to 4 suppliers in your evaluation workbook because the assessment can be lengthy. Ideally, when possible, the suppliers should be located relatively close to you (same time zone, language, corporate culture).

4 – Ask each preselected supplier to fill the evaluation workbook

It is important to ask your preselected suppliers to fill the evaluation workbook and to give it back to you in less than a month.

5 – Demand a demonstration to 3 of your potential suppliers

With the help of your evaluation workbook, you have to choose 3 suppliers that correspond the most to your needs and ask for a demonstration. If possible, you should give them a project script so they can prepare for a personalized demonstration.

6 – Request a free 30-day trial

In order to get used to the tool, we recommend that you request a free 30-day trial.

7 – Ask for client referrals

Request at least 3 client referrals working in your field and contact them to know their opinion regarding the product and service.

8 – Negotiate prices and contract terms

When your supplier is selected, negotiate the price and contracts terms and ask for the implementation plan. Try to evaluate the implementation duration and your resources’ availability.

Thank you and good luck in choosing your software! In the meantime, we invite you to visit our website to discover our multiple project management, time and billing, skill management and standard management products!